Shaun Ran Off 34kg! Here’s How

A chronic pain sufferer ran his way to health and happiness.

Lisa Abdellah |

Name: Shaun Sangster
Age: 36
Home Town: Cape Town
Height: 1.89m
Occupation: Self-employed air-conditioning technician
Time Required: 1 Year 9 Months
Then: 139kg
Now: 105kg


I’m an ex-chain smoker, drug user, and excessive drinker. I gave up smoking 11 years ago, only to replace it with comfort eating. Then, in 2009, I injured my spine in a work-related accident. I had an operation to fix it, but I’ve suffered from pain and nerve damage ever since.

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In the years that followed, the dial on my bathroom scales rose steadily. By 2016, a combination of chronic pain and feeling sluggish and overweight had left me battling to stay sane.


I started to walk a few kilometres a day, but nothing more until a friend of mine who’s an avid club runner invited me to run a 10-K road race. I hesitated at first. Are you mad? I berated myself. That’s too far! You’ll probably die!

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But my friend insisted I take part, and I reasoned, What have I got to lose? I approached the start line feeling nervous – but also unexpectedly excited. I remember finishing in exactly one hour.

“That’s a great time for your first race!” my friend congratulated me.

I was breathing fast, my adrenaline was pumping, and all the other participants were laughing and smiling. A medal had been hung around my neck; and wearing it, I felt so overwhelmed with confidence that I cried.

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I walked around my neighbourhood with my medal hung around my neck, refusing to take it off. I needed more of these beautiful medals to make me feel confident and happy!

What I’ve learned is that you get out of life what you put into it. In my case, I was doing bad things and expecting a good result. For many years, I chose to exist in ignorant bliss. But then I discovered that if I wanted to be alive and healthy, then I had to choose to live that way.

Inspired by Shaun’s story? Join the club and start your weight-loss journey with the Run It Off Plan below. What are you waiting for?


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